16 April 2024 • Alums Lippman '87 Publishes New Poetry Collection By Andrew Wickenden '09

We Are All Sleeping with Our Sneakers On, the sixth collection by Matthew Lippman ’87, features cover art by Courtney Shepard Muller ’87. 

“Our hearts are so big./You can feel it right now, can’t you?/The cat feels it./The worm feels it. We’re just walking around,” as Matthew Lippman ’87 writes in “On Our Best Days,” one of the poems from his new collection, We Are All Sleeping with Our Sneakers On. 


Published in March by Four Way Books, Lippman’s latest showcases his “characteristic humor, strangeness, and honesty at the peak of his lyrical powers,” persisting with a “sincere questioning” and “willingness to muster an answer despite the world’s surplus of doubt and despair,” as the publisher notes.   

The artwork on the cover is a multimedia piece titled “Self Portrait” by Courtney Shepard Muller ’87. 

“For a few years I had seen Courtney’s work on my Facebook page. Her paintings are so rich in color and softness. I loved them, love them. They are nuanced and have an ambience of joy to them, which I find profound and moving,” Lippman says.

“Self-Portrait” in particular stood out, he says. “The blue, the white, the clean and fresh vibe, and, of course, the warmth and heart. That blue heart. It felt completely in synch with the mood and vibe of my poems — love, all love and more love that lives at the center of the writing. Her image, my poems, moving together in an overarching celebration of everything. I am humbled and so grateful that she said yes to my ask. Finally, it’s pretty cool that we get to share this artifact together, that our art is paired, because all of it—the painting and poetry—has deep roots in what the time, community, professors, and space at Hobart and William Smith gave us many moons back.”

Order the book here.

Lippman is the author of six previous poetry collections, including Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful (2020), which received the 2018 Levis Prize. A high school English teacher, he also is the founder of College Essay Creatives, a consulting firm that assists college bound students with their personal essays. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the New York State Foundation of the Arts, and his work has been recognized with the Anna Davidson Poetry Prize, the Georgetown Review Magazine Prize and the Jerome J. Shestak Poetry Prize from The American Poetry Review among others. Lippman holds a B.A. in psychology from HWS, an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Iowa and an M.A. in education from the Teachers College at Columbia University. matthewlippmanpoetry.com  

Muller conceives of her work as “a cross-pollination of my education and career as a writer and my passion as an artist,” creating “a visual journey through an authentic convergence of storytelling and art.” She spent her career in marketing and communications, holding various leadership positions in sales, and ultimately corporate communications for non-profit organizations. A bout of writer’s block 15 years ago brought her to the visual arts, and that “newfound use of color, texture, and composition replaced letters and words.” She is represented as an Artist Member of the Artist Association of Nantucket, Agora Gallery and PAKS Gallery. Muller graduated from HWS with Honors, with a B.A. in American studies and continued her education at Johns Hopkins University’s master’s program in communication.